JERUSALEM – On Saturday, May 19, 2018, Christians of the Holy Land gathered at the Saint Stephen Church of the École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem to pray for peace and justice in Jerusalem and the Holy Land.
On May 14 and 15, when Israel and the United States of America inaugurated the new US embassy in Jerusalem and the Palestinians were preparing to commemorate the Nakba , a situation of extreme violence broke out along the border between Israel and Gaza during a peaceful demonstration. A disproportionate violence raged against the Palestinians in Gaza, that resulted in more than 60 dead and 2,500 wounded. In view of these events, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem invited all the faithful of the Diocese of Jerusalem, here or in the rest of the world, to pray on Saturday, May 19, 2018, the eve of Pentecost, for peace and justice in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Many faithful responded to this call.
In Jerusalem, the faithful gathered in Saint Stephen Church for an hour of prayer presided by Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Representatives of different Churches in Jerusalem, as well as H.B. Michel Sabbah, Patriarch Emeritus ,Bishop Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem and Palestine, Fr. Francesco Patton, OFM, Custos of the Holy Land, and many priests, men and women religious were also present to share these moments of prayer.
During the prayer, the Administrator expressed his desire to have ” a peace that is warm and sincere welcome of the other, a tenacious desire to listen and dialogue,… we want fear and suspicion to give way to knowledge, to encounter and trust, where differences are opportunities for company and not pretext for mutual refusal “. He added a few moments later that “perhaps we will not be able to change as we would like the world in which we live, but we can and must begin with us, from our community and with our life attract to truth and justice those who live among us and around us.”
The next day, Pope Francis, who was celebrating the feast of Pentecost in Rome, mentioned in his homily the heartbreaking situation in Gaza, recognizing “How heartrending that name sounds to us today!” and wishing “the Spirit change hearts and situations and bring peace to the Holy Land”. After the Angelus and the Regina Coeli, he “united himself spiritually” to the prayer vigil for peace that took place in this city, holy for Jews, Christians and Muslims” and continued “to invoke the Holy Spirit to inspire gestures of dialogue and reconciliation in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East.”
Source: Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem